Monthly Archives: February 2015

Join us at Marple Hall School for a great MFL Show and Tell, Saturday 14th March,11-1pm⤴

from @ My Languages

Come and join us at Marple Hall High School for a great MFL Show and Tell!
 
A few words from Ana Castillo, event organiser.
  
«We warmly welcome your attendance and input at our Show and Tell. Our hope is that a broad range of language ideas are discussed and shared with some focus given to the challenges we face with the imminent curriculum changes. More so than at any time before we are tasked with inspiring our students to embrace language and culture and to immerse themselves in order to gain life-long skills. As teachers and lovers of language we understand this but how we get our students to, is our biggest challenge.
 
For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a Show and Tell is, it is an informal meeting for teachers, both primary and secondary, to share best practice, new ideas and personal experiences of teaching. Participants volunteer to discuss a strategy they have implemented in their classroom which they think others can use within their practice. This is a perfect opportunity to share, network and learn with your peers in an informal setting. It really is the best CPD there is!
 
Marple Hall School and Alderley Edge School for Girls are committed to sharing excellent practice and encouraging collaboration across phases and sectors and as such is extremely proud and excited to be hosting this event. We hope that it will provide teachers with a genuine and empowering experience.



When and where?
 
Saturday 14th March 2015, 11-1pm

Marple Hall School
Hill Top Drive
Marple
Stockport
SK6 6LB



Contact Ana Castillo   Email: ana.castillo@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk.
Twitter: @anacastillo333
 
Facilities 
  • A computer (with internet access), projector and audio equipment will be available. Please let us know if you have any specific requests.
  • Refreshments and drinks
  • Car park
 
NB: Wifi may not be available at this event so should you require internet access on your own devices please ensure you have sufficient data/tethering capability.



Cost
 
The event is entirely free of charge and we are grateful to a number of sponsors who are making it all possible. We will on the day be having a retiring collection (bucket on the door) with all contributions however small going towards Cancer Research.
 
What can you do?



We want you to talk! Of course you can attend and simply watch the presentations but for the event to be a success and for everybody to get the most out of it, your input is invaluable.  Please start the ball rolling by spreading the word about this exciting event. Get involved on twitter using the #MHSSAT15. At Show and Tells, the networking opportunities are usually invaluable and help forge strong links between teachers, departments and schools.



Sign up!



If you would like to come along as a speaker or attendee, please sign up by clicking here to add your name to the wiki and add your details to the page. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet decided exactly what topic you will be discussing as this can always be added at a later stage. »



How to edit this page:
 
  1. Click the EDIT tab at the top of this page - you'll be prompted to login.
  2. Note that the PBwiki system has changed, so either:
    1. create a PBwiki account, which is quick and simple, and login; or
    2. alternatively you can login using the limited guest account - username guest password teemhcaet
  3. Return to this page and click the EDIT tab
  4. Add your name to the bottom of the appropriate list 
  5. Click the Save button at the foot of the page...
  6. That's it!

See you there!

Join us at Marple Hall School for a great MFL Show and Tell, Saturday 14th March,11-1pm⤴

from @ My Languages

Come and join us at Marple Hall High School for a great MFL Show and Tell!
 
A few words from Ana Castillo, event organiser.
  
«We warmly welcome your attendance and input at our Show and Tell. Our hope is that a broad range of language ideas are discussed and shared with some focus given to the challenges we face with the imminent curriculum changes. More so than at any time before we are tasked with inspiring our students to embrace language and culture and to immerse themselves in order to gain life-long skills. As teachers and lovers of language we understand this but how we get our students to, is our biggest challenge.
 
For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a Show and Tell is, it is an informal meeting for teachers, both primary and secondary, to share best practice, new ideas and personal experiences of teaching. Participants volunteer to discuss a strategy they have implemented in their classroom which they think others can use within their practice. This is a perfect opportunity to share, network and learn with your peers in an informal setting. It really is the best CPD there is!
 
Marple Hall School and Alderley Edge School for Girls are committed to sharing excellent practice and encouraging collaboration across phases and sectors and as such is extremely proud and excited to be hosting this event. We hope that it will provide teachers with a genuine and empowering experience.



When and where?
 
Saturday 14th March 2015, 11-1pm

Marple Hall School
Hill Top Drive
Marple
Stockport
SK6 6LB



Contact Ana Castillo   Email: ana.castillo@marplehall.stockport.sch.uk.
Twitter: @anacastillo333
 
Facilities 
  • A computer (with internet access), projector and audio equipment will be available. Please let us know if you have any specific requests.
  • Refreshments and drinks
  • Car park
 
NB: Wifi may not be available at this event so should you require internet access on your own devices please ensure you have sufficient data/tethering capability.



Cost
 
The event is entirely free of charge and we are grateful to a number of sponsors who are making it all possible. We will on the day be having a retiring collection (bucket on the door) with all contributions however small going towards Cancer Research.
 
What can you do?



We want you to talk! Of course you can attend and simply watch the presentations but for the event to be a success and for everybody to get the most out of it, your input is invaluable.  Please start the ball rolling by spreading the word about this exciting event. Get involved on twitter using the #MHSSAT15. At Show and Tells, the networking opportunities are usually invaluable and help forge strong links between teachers, departments and schools.



Sign up!



If you would like to come along as a speaker or attendee, please sign up by clicking here to add your name to the wiki and add your details to the page. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet decided exactly what topic you will be discussing as this can always be added at a later stage. »



How to edit this page:
 
  1. Click the EDIT tab at the top of this page - you'll be prompted to login.
  2. Note that the PBwiki system has changed, so either:
    1. create a PBwiki account, which is quick and simple, and login; or
    2. alternatively you can login using the limited guest account - username guest password teemhcaet
  3. Return to this page and click the EDIT tab
  4. Add your name to the bottom of the appropriate list 
  5. Click the Save button at the foot of the page...
  6. That's it!

See you there!

Solutions to practice NAB for Higher unit 2⤴

from @ fizzics

Here are the solutions to the practice NAB for unit 2.

Check your answers carefully.  Did you;

  • mix up the equation for charged particles with those for capacitors?
  • remember to calculate the period of an ac signal in seconds?
  • make the correct substitutions for V1 and V2 in the differential amplifier question?
  • use “it” instead of nouns in your explanations?

Books that caused me to think about my teaching- Part 2⤴

from

Featured image

Great Myths of the Brain, Christian Jarrett

Neuroscience; A prophetic acclamation from George W.Bush hailed the 90s as ‘The Decade of the Brain’ and an impending expectation of being able to investigate one of the most complex yet critical facets of sentience. Riding this wave of ideological optimism partly influenced a One Billion Euro investment to build a computer simulation of the brain so detailed, it begins at the microscopic level of ion channels in individual neurons. Yet for all this technology and human investment,Jarrett manages to highlight an alarming level of misconception (& nonconception?) that still ‘infiltrate’ educational discourse. He highlights the common brain myths still endorsed by some teachers and, although we are taken on the now ritual assault on Brain Gym and left-brain and right-brain learners, many more myths are exposed. This takes us on a time travel roller coaster, focusing on the famous cases of Phineas Gage to the seminal study of HM. Further analysis is made of classic brain myths that refuse to evanesce even under intense scientific inquiry; “we use only 10% of our brain” “women lose their mind when pregnant” to the more bizarre “you have in your brain a cell that responds only to the thought of your grandmother”.

Jarret has consulted with many professionals connected to the field of neuroscience, brain research and psychology, including Uta Frith, Tom Stafford and Charles Fernyhough. He has looked at hundreds of research studies and articles and the result is a very accessible and credible book on neuroscience that provides a great storage dump of ammunition against neurononsense. What it also generates is a further interesting question; to better understand human cognitions, is the field of cognitive psychology better suited (at present) to education than the field of cognitive neuroscience? and do we in our eagerness to look for empirical ’definitives’ conflate both? A very enjoyable read that caused me to reflect and examine my beliefs around the how and why I teach the way I do.

Featured imageMake It Stick- The Science of Successful Learning, Brown, Roediger and McDaniel

Learning should be challenging, and attempting to dilute merely as engaging and an axiomatic ‘learning will follow’ maxim, may ignore the science of successful learning. Perhaps echoing the sentiments of Bjork and ‘desriable difficulties’, Brown (a writer and novelist), Roediger (Professor of Psychology) and McDaniel (Professor of Psychology) have collectively written a book that is largely (overly simply also, I accede) summarised by the title-“Make it Stick-The Science of Successful Learning”.

With Chapter contents headed, “Learning is misunderstood” and “To Learn, retrieve” there is an obvious iteration of key aspects of cognitions and cognitive psychology. Perhaps the current ‘sweetheart’ of Psychological appreciation, the meta language is easy to access and gently, yet with a weight of scientific force, nudges us towards confronting myths around how we learn and presenting more effective methods of classroom practice. Among the findings:

  1. Recalling new material from memory is more productive for robust learning and memory than rereading.
  2. Quizzing students on material they have read or that has been presented in class leads to better learning and retention than reviewing that material again.
  3. Interleaving the practice of two or more problem types (for example, math solutions or types of baseball pitches) is more productive than mastering one before moving to another.
  4. Asking students to grapple with solving a new kind of problem before teaching them the solution results in better learning of the solution when they are shown it.
  5. A series of cumulative, low-stakes or no-stakes quizzes over the course of a semester works like compound interest, strengthening retention and updating learning.

Referencing research with practical classroom application, and co-written by the storyteller that is Brown, “Make It Stick” is a highly recommended classroom companion. Perhaps a key challenge as a teacher is to allow such insights to inform classroom practice, yet not merely define. In a world of freneticism and pace, slowing our thinking around what we do on a habitual level can only be good- and this book certainly engenders such dialogic introspection.

Featured image

Happiness By Design, Paul Dolan

‘Non-cognitive’ skills (err will leave aside that nomenclature for the moment),GRIT, Resilience, Growth Mindset, all words that seem to walk and breathe in the lives of contemporary UK schools? Yes, to lesser and greater extents and yes, to varying levels of understanding regarding the psychology and research that sits behind such constructs. But everyone has heard of happiness, haven’t they? Everyone has experienced happiness, haven’t they? Is a lens of inquiry on happiness and ‘happy’ schools therefore merely an exercise in highlighting common sense, intuition and human experiences?

Perhaps these are overly imbued with powerful cognitive biases, such as attribution errors and the joys of cognitive dissonance? In an ever-growing world of quantifiable metrics of performance, it seems in some sense, the interfaces between cognitions and emotions are also open to scientific scrutiny. Blending our knowledge of economics and behavioural sciences to investigate Happiness, Dolan identifies the key role of attention, highlighting that we perhaps pay too much attention to what we think may make us happy rather than focusing on what does. This ‘does’ links to a purpose and pleasure balance, key ingredients alongside attention in this happiness formula.

I really enjoyed this book, and with over 30 pages of research references to further investigate, Dolan’s claims are backed up by weaving research to his own personal life events. He identifies the role of cognitive biases and how they may mistakenly frame our ideas of happiness and narrates ‘simple’ tools that may improve our happiness in everyday life. I won’t spoil what these are, read for yourself, but it did make me think’ “How happy are kids when they leave my classes? How happy should they be? And how happy can they be within the locus of my own control? What do I do in my life to increase my own personal happiness?

Couldn’t help thinking happiness by design fits very well as a key piece of a wider Salutogenic jigsaw puzzle. I’m going to read this once again to try and understand even more. But. I liked this book. A lot.


The Challenge of The London Challenge for Scotland⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

This week Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, announced that in the future all Scottish headteachers will be required to be qualified to Masters level before they take up post. She made this announcement not in Scotland, but down in England, and particularly London where she has been very impressed by the results of the London Challenge initiative introduced by Tony Blair's Government in 2003. There is no doubt that Nicola is committed to closing the attainment gap that exists, and which is growing, between learners affected by poverty and those more advantaged in Scotland. This has been described as a national disgrace, and needs addressing by all levels of society, but particularly by our education system which can have the most impact on closing this gap. I applaud our First Minister's determination to do something about this, but I do have some questions to ask about the particular path she has chosen to address the issue. Is the London Challenge a suitable model we should seek to implement and learn from? Does the impact of context mean that an attempt to transplant an initiative from London into Scotland is doomed to failure? What impact had leadership on the success of the London Challenge, but which caused it to be less successful when transported to other regions of England? Does making all headteachers have a Masters qualification ensure the quality of leadership in our schools?

There is no doubt the London Challenge is seen as a success story of the recent English educational story. Prior to its inception in 2003 London's schools had been underperforming compared to other schools and areas across the country, using the Government's and Ofsted's benchmarks relating to exam performance. Under the leadership of Tim Brighouse the London Challenge focused on raising the quality of leadership and learning and teaching across London schools and their local authorities. Leadership training programmes were put into place for leaders at all levels and further development programmes for teachers to improve teaching and learning practices and understandings. Key also was the use of data, and this was used to create families of schools which displayed common characteristics. Teams of experienced advisors were appointed to support schools and local authorities. The support to schools was tailored to meet each school's needs and this changed and modified as the needs changed over time. Language used was supposed to be overwhelmingly positive with schools requiring the most support and seen as in greatest need being called the 'keys to success', rather than 'failing schools'. By 2005 the performance of London schools had been turned around and they were now performing above the national average, and continued to be so. In 2010 Ofsted declared that London had a higher proportion of 'Good' and 'Outstanding' schools, as identified from their inspection processes, than any other area in the country. The programme was seen as such a success that it was then rolled out into other cities and areas like Manchester and the Black Country. However, the results from these roll outs were variable and did not achieve the heights of London.

This brings me to context. Is it possible to transplant a successful strategy or programme from one city or country, put it into another different one and get the same results and outcomes? I have my doubts, and so do many researchers who have looked at such actions at a macro and micro levels. For years, Finland has consistently topped, or been near the top, of the international PISA education system rankings produced by the OECD. This has resulted in a deluge of visitors from across the world looking  closely at what Finland have been doing to become so successful. They of course focused on schools, systems, structures, programmes and leadership as they searched for the secret of Finland's success. They spoke to Governments and leaders like Pasi Sahlberg and returned to their own countries armed with the features of the successful Finnish system. Many then ensured the same practices were put in place in their own systems and schools and then waited for the improved performance to kick in. Trouble was, they were unable to achieve the same results as Finland. Why? Because too many visitors ignored factors that PISA did not report on. So social structures, culture, history and even geography were not looked at, and it turns out these were massively important factors in shaping performance in Finland's schools and education system. I was in Cincinnati in January and there Dave Reynolds talked about how visitors had gone to Finland because they were doing so well in developing reading ability in their learners. They took the programmes they were using away to use in their own schools, but the impact was not the same. What they had ignored was that Finland has the cheapest newsprint in the world, think trees, and they have the cheapest newspapers, which leads to a culture where everyone, and every household, traditionally reads every day. This factor is crucial when considering the high reading performance of Finnish students. Culture, history and geography are all important. The other thing about visitors was that they tended to cherry-pick the characteristics that suited them when they looked at what was going on in Finland. Finland does not have an inspection system, teachers are qualified to Masters level and are held in high esteem. I don't see many countries going down the route of no inspections and holding teachers in high esteem, with high levels of trust. I also think getting to that point would be very difficult with different cultures and different histories. 

So we can see that system copying, at a macro level, is full of difficulties. So it is at the micro level, and that is why so many of us have difficulty with the concept of 'sharing good practice.' This is a dangerous term as it too assumes you can take what has been successful in one or more schools, or one or more classrooms, and drop this into other schools or classrooms and expect the same results. You can't. Context is crucial here too. What works for one teacher or one school  might not work for another teacher or school, with different learners, staff and points of development. I have always argued that what will transfer across contexts are the principles that sit beneath 'good practice'. So, what steps did you take to produce the practice? Why did you use these? How you knew where you were in terms of development? What was your focus? How did you use data to inform and support? What worked and what didn't? What were the timescales involved? How did you deepen understanding? These become key pieces of information to share, in order to help others on their own development journies,  rather than the wholesale lifting and copying what you did, or worse, just cherry picking the bits you like.

What of leadership in the London Challenge? I recently attended a discussion with Chris Chapman from  the Robert Owen Centre, which is part of Glasgow University's School of Education. Chris had worked on what became known as the Manchester Challenge. This had emerged out of the London Challenge and Chris had said whilst the results achieved in Manchester were good, those in the Black Country were variable at best. He feels the most crucial factor in the success of the London Challenge was the leadership of Tim Brighouse supported by a very able Civil Servant in Jon Coles from the Department of Education. The two worked well as a leadership team and Tim Brighouse made sure he spent time developing a culture that facilitated conversations amongst school leaders about how they could improve. Out of both London and Manchester the concept of the self-improving school system, that David Hargreaves and others had spoken of, began to emerge. In this headteachers recognised and accepted their responsibility for the learning of children outwith their own schools. Chris felt that for too long we have spent too much time trying to repair the system and not enough on improving it. The development of system leadership is a way of improving the system. Chris believes that the leadership of Sir Tim Brighouse, in London, and Mel Ainscow in Manchester was key in why these initiatives worked and perhaps why the same practice in the Black Country and elsewhere was less successful. In all cases, the context was different and their success perhaps also hinged on how approaches and principles were nuanced to reflect local contexts.

There is no doubt that leadership in schools, and local authorities, and how this could be improved, was a key focus of the London Challenge. Various leadership courses and training was put in place to develop and improve school leadership. There was no requirement to have school leaders with a Masters qualification, indeed the Teaching First initiative also emerged out of this. In this, well qualified graduates were placed in school, with no educational training, and were trained on the job over two years. This has further developed with the emergence of Teaching Schools in England. So there were lots of mixed messages coming out of and emerging from The London Challenge. We need highly committed and qualified leaders and teachers to improve the system, whilst at the same time they were reducing the need for teachers, and eventually leaders, to have completed a course of study in education at a University. It is interesting to note that Jon Coles left the Civil Service and is now leader of the largest chain of Academies in England, United Learning. He has committed to growing this chain even further and is currently advising Nicola Sturgeon, as she seeks to emulate the success of the London Challenge.

My big question would be, why? In Scotland we have been developing a completely different and innovative approach to our curriculum than most other countries in the world. Through Curriculum for Excellence we are leading the way for system development in many ways. More and more countries are taking an interest in our approach, and the ethos and principles that sit behind this. Indeed the new proposed curriculum for Wales is very similar to Scotland's.  Our performance in various international rankings is improving, though this was not a particular aim. Our curriculum has a focus on skills and knowledge. We are looking at the development of our learners individually and holistically, and we understand that such deep change takes time and is a continuous process. We are currently nearly eleven years into our 'new' curriculum and approach. I spoke with Alma Harris recently and she, and others, are impressed with our direction of travel and the approach we are taking. Her message to Scotland was to 'hold your nerve' with CfE because it will deliver what you are looking for, and is already. That is not to say it is all perfect. There are issues to be addressed and tensions created. But these are a consequence of any major shift or change and can be catalysts new thinking and practice to improve what we do. There is a wealth of expertise, national and international, that resides within Scotland and within the system and we need to recognise this and utilise it to keep moving forward. Of course we need to engage with, and look at, what is happening elsewhere and internationally, as Alma would advise 'think globally but act locally.' I would much prefer our First Minister to engage with leading educationalists and thinkers in our own country and elsewhere, rather than administrators, who are unlikely to understand learning and may have other priorities. Requiring headteachers to have a Masters qualification may ensure a certain intellectual level for school leaders, but does not ensure improved leadership performance, just as teachers with PHDs are not always the most effective deliverers of learning experiences. High performing school leaders need a whole range of attributes and qualities, including intellectual capacity. A focus on one particular aspect, might not mean we have the best leaders in place. Also, recruiting headteachers remains a huge challenge, and some might see the requirement to have, and fund, a Masters qualification as another obstacle to attracting the right people into the role. There is a danger the numbers applying for headteacher roles could fall even further with this approach. We want our best teacher and our best leaders in schools, and we need local and national strategies to allow this to happen.

So, good luck Nicola. Again, I applaud your aims, as would any thinking professional in the Scottish educationa system. There are no quick fixes but, I believe, we are already heading in the right direction. We have the right people in the system who can help us take the next steps. We just need the support of Government to help us get where we all want to be, with a leading, world class education system that allows all, whatever their backgrounds, to achieve their potential and be successful.


Safer Internet Day 2015 Kinglassie Primary School⤴

from @ Glow Gallery

A little background to the story……

The Internet Safety – Learners site was developed to illustrate how technology could be used to support teaching and learning.

The purpose was to exemplify key features available through the technology and how this could be used to improve the learning experience.

Olivia Wexelstein (Teacher of P7) at Kinglassie Primary School in Fife kindly agreed to develop a series of lessons with a clear focus on Safer Internet Day. Both the Head Teacher and Olivia recognised that the technology could in fact be used to support a whole school Internet Safety project.

The project was carried out on February 9-10 2015 which would coincide with Safer Internet Day. Although the technology supported a whole school approach to Internet Safety it also opened up possible opportunities for other learners and educators across Scotland to take part and contribute to the project.

It was clear throughout the planning of the project that technology offered a wide range of ideas and possibilities to improve the learning experience. Each task was designed to incorporate various features of technology and this allowed learners an opportunity to engage with technology on a wider scale.

 

Was Glow services the only type of technologies used in the project?

No, although Glow offers a wide range of technological services other types of technologies were explored as the purpose of the project was to exemplify how technology could be used to support teaching and learning.

 

Which Glow services were used for the project?

Olivia created tasks which allowed learners the opportunity to use the following features within Glow:

Office 365

  • OneNote to share ideas
  • Newsfeed to communicate and share learning experiences with others
  • Discussion forum to discuss a Safer Internet Day video
  • A dedicated area which allowed learners to upload their work

Wikis

  • Another collaborative tool which supported learners in working together on a specific task

 

Did young people have an opportunity to use any other types of technology other than services offered through Glow?

Yes, Olivia used Padlet (https://padlet.com/) which is a virtual wall that allows people to express their ideas and thoughts. It really is like an online sheet of paper where content e.g. images, videos, documents and text etc can be added anywhere on the page from any device.

 

Can I have a look at the site to see what Kinglassie PS achieved?

Absolutely, the site is available at: http://tinyurl.com/lkhaz5b. The site was available and promoted using the national newsfeed on Glow as well as using other communication channels such as the Education Scotland Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Maisie

PC Passport FAQ⤴

from @ SQA Computing blog

As you may know, we are currently reviewing PC Passport. The development is making good progress. We create a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for new or revised awards. Here is the FAQ for PC Passport.


It can be viewed here. The FAQ will be updated from time to time so that it contains the latest information about the development.

Contact Helen for more information about PC Passport.

PC Passport FAQ⤴

from @ SQA Computing blog

As you may know, we are currently reviewing PC Passport. The development is making good progress. We create a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for new or revised awards. Here is the FAQ for PC Passport.


It can be viewed here. The FAQ will be updated from time to time so that it contains the latest information about the development.

Contact Helen for more information about PC Passport.

SSE Power vacancies⤴

from

SSE Power is now recruiting throughout Scotland for various craft apprenticeships to start in August 2015. Candidates must have a minimum of 4 National 4 or 5 to include English, maths and a science or craft subject or 4 Standard Grades at levels 1-3 to include English, maths and a science or craft subject.

Closing date for applications is 15th March 2015.

Details of roles, requirements and application procedure here or visit http://sse.com/careers/apprentices/